2 Towns Man Gogh

Review of 2 Towns’ latest new limited release cider, Man Gogh, a tropical mango and habanero imperial-style (high ABV) cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve previously had their Bright CiderBad AppleSerious ScrumpOut Cider, Cherried Away, Made MarionCidre Moscato, Throne of Thorns, Reserve #1 Barrel Select BlendPrickle Me PinkNice & NaughtyNice & Naughty Bourbon Barrel AgedDark CurrantRiverwood Brut 2014RhubarbarianPommeauGinja NinjaSun’s Out SaisonReturn of the MackHop and StalkLa MûreCot in the ActHollow JackTraditions Cider Bouche 2015Traditions Riverwood 2015Flight of the KiwiPrickle Me Pink ^2Afton Field, and Traditions Cidre Bouche 2016.

Photo Dec 02, 1 38 31 PM (1)

<This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

Cider:  Man Gogh
Cidery:  2 Towns Cider House
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft imperial-style cider from dessert apples, with mango and habanero

Photo Dec 02, 1 39 02 PM (1) Photo Dec 02, 1 38 48 PM (1)

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Availability:  ~ Dec 2017 thru Jan 2018, limited, primarily in Oregon, Washington, and California (see their cider finder)

Cider Description:  2 Towns Ciderhouse releases Man Gogh, a tropical-inspired Limited Release Imperial Cider, available starting this week. Tangy and equatorial, Man Gogh is a true masterpiece, artfully bringing together tropical fruit and peppers. Fresh ingredients with opposing characteristics work together to whisk you away to paradise. Van Gogh himself once said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

“2 Towns created this cider as a ray of sunshine for the cold, dark days of winter,” says Matt Dickason, cellar manager. “The freshness of the juicy mango blends seamlessly with the hot habaneros. We went easy on the habanero burn and worked to capture the fruity profile of the peppers. The result is a work of art. ”  We suggest pairing Man Gogh with Christmas tamales and Baja cuisine, like Wahoo tacos.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider. 

They were founded in 2010 and have a tap room in Corvallis Oregon.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $7.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Nearly still (very low carbonation).  Smells mild, of mango juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of mango, pineapple, citrus, and a hint of habanero.  Long warming finish (from both the high ABV and the habanero).  Very low spiciness (not really noticeable until you drink a few sips, and mostly in the finish).  Moderate sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  Low apple flavor.

My Opinion:  Great!  I was really surprised I enjoyed this, as I was expecting it would be quite spicy, like every other cider I’d had with habanero, jalapeno, sriracha, etc.  The flavor and sweetness were spot-on.  I was also surprised how easy this was to drink, unexpected for an imperial-style spicy cider.

Most Similar to:  I’ve tried spicy ciders before, such as Carlton Cyderworks AHH!!! Apricot Honey Habanero, Cockrell Raspberry Habanero, Elemental Jalapeno Lime Cilantro (Margarita), Schilling Sriracha Lime, Finnriver Habanero, and Schilling Peach Grapefruit Habanero.  I’ve also tried mango infused ciders, such as Atlas Pineapple MangoBull Run MangoCider Brothers William Tell Apple Mango MuscatElemental Mango, and Locust Mango.  Compared to those, this one was most similar to Elemental’s mango cider as far as flavor and sweetness, except with a hint of spice, on a similar level to Elemental’s Margarita.

Closing Notes:  I can see this becoming a very popular release.

Have you tried 2 Towns Man Gogh?  What did you think?

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2 Towns Traditions Cidre Bouche – 2016 Vintage

This review is of 2 Towns Traditions Cidre Bouche, a French-style keeved cider.  This is their second release of this cider, the 2016 vintage (see my review here of the 2015 vintage).  I’ve also tried many other ciders from 2 Towns (see here).

Keeving is a special labor intensive process of fermenting the cider slowly, starving it of natural nutrients.  It results in an apple-forward, naturally sweet, lower ABV, and higher carbonation cider.  This is typical for French cidre, but is very rare in the U.S.

Photo Oct 06, 11 00 43 AM

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  Traditions Cidre Bouche
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis Oregon
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  375ml (12.7oz) fancy single bottles
Style:  American craft French style cider, keeved, from cider apples, oak cask aged

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Availability:  Limited (310 cases of 12 bottles), although 2 Towns ciders are generally available in AK, CA, HI, ID, OR, WA, and Minneapolis MN & Chicago IL.

Cider Description:  Inspired by the bittersweet ciders of France, Cidre Bouche is made using an old-world process called keeving.  Starting with 100% traditional cider varieties like Kingston Black, Michelin, Reine des Pommes, Dabinett, and Muscat de Lense, we let the fruit ‘sweat’ and intensify in aroma.  The apples are crushed and left to soak on the skins before the juice is fermented slowly over the course of a tear in French oak casks.  When finished, this keeved cider is rich, thick, and brimming with overripe bittersweet apple character.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $10)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Moderate amber hue.  Low carbonation with some foam.  Smells of sweet ripe French bittersweet cider apple juice, yeast, and a predominant funk / barnyard.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  Low funk.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness.  Notes of rich ripe bittersweet cider apple juice and pomace, yeast, caramel, and orange.  Low oak influence.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I really enjoyed it.  The flavor was amazingly bold and rich, it remained free of sourness (which I’m not a fan of), and the funk added a bit of complexity but remained primarily in the scent.

Most Similar to:  French cidres with a bit of funk but no sourness, such as Christian Drouin Pays d’AugeL’Hermitiére Cidre Brut, and Manoir De Montreuil Cambremer

Closing Notes:   I think this release was significantly better than last year’s version, and if I was tasting it blind, I would have guessed it was made in France, not Oregon!  2 Towns has really mastered their keeving technique.  Its pretty cool to see a U.S. cidermaker use this old world French process.  We may see more keeved ciders, especially in the Northwest, as the NW Cider Association took a group of cidermakers (using grant money) to France and England to learn about keeving in May/June 2017; see here.

However, the price is a bit high (although understandable due to the high cost of cider apples in the U.S., and that this was a very labor intensive and relatively small batch release).  Many imported French cidres cost less per ounce.  By the way, my favorite budget-friendly French cider is Dan Armor, only $5 / 750ml (only at Trader Joe’s).  It is more simplistic (less complex) that this one however.  I’m not sure if U.S. cideries will ever be able to compete with those sorts of prices on ciders from bittersweet cider apples.

Have you tried 2 Towns Traditions Cidre Bouche?  What did you think?

2 Towns Hollow Jack

Review of 2 Towns’ Hollow Jack, a seasonal cider with pumpkin, sweet potato, and pie spices.  I sampled this last year (see here), and I’ve tried most of their line-up (see here).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  Hollow Jack
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  6.4%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles, kegs
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, unfiltered, with caramelized heirloom pumpkin, sweet potato, honey, and pie spices (allspice, nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon)

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Availability:  Seasonably (September to November), primarily CA, OR, & WA, although in general their ciders are available in AK, CA, HI, ID, IL (Chicago), MN, NV, OR, and WA.  See their Cider Finder.

Cider Description:  Mischievous & spiced, Hollow Jack is far from empty. A brew of fresh-pressed apples, caramelized pumpkin and sweet potatoes is finished with a dash of honey and spices to carve out this special Fall cider.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $6.99 / 500ml
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I first tried it at Cider Summit Seattle 2016, but this time it just showed up

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First Impression:  Hazy straw yellow hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells vegetal and of pie spices.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of baked apple, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato / yam, caramel, and pie spices.  Quick to moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate to high sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  Low to moderate pumpkin & sweet potato flavor.  Very low spice.

My Opinion:  Although I’m not a huge pumpkin / spiced cider fan, I liked this one, and it is my favorite of the five I’ve tried.

Most Similar to:  Doc’s Draft Pumpkin cider (although that was a full sweet) and Tieton’s Smoked Pumpkin cider (although that was quite intensely flavored compared to this).  I’ve also tried pumpkin ciders from Ace and Woodchuck.

Closing Notes:  Unlike many pumpkin ciders (and beers), this one is actually made with pumpkin.  Many just add the pie spices but still call it a pumpkin cider (or beer).  Also, it is well balanced, with both the pumpkin and spices remaining light.

Have you tried 2 Towns Hollow Jack?  What did you think?

2 Towns Cot in the Act

Review of 2 Towns’ Cot in the Act, an apricot infused seasonal cider.  I sampled this last year (see here), and I’ve tried most of their line-up (see here).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  Cot in the Act
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles, 6 packs of 12oz cans, kegs
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, unfiltered, with apricots (2 lb per gallon)

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Availability:  Seasonably (July-September) in AK, CA, HI, ID, IL (Chicago), MN, NV, OR, and WA.

Cider Description:  Luminous & divine, Cot in the Act is just too tempting to resist, coupling Northwest apples with local Rival apricots. Referred to as “golden eggs of the sun” by the Greeks, apricots make this seasonal cider the perfect summer treat.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $7.99 / 500ml or $11.49 / six pack of 12oz cans)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  It showed up

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Very low to low carbonation.  Smells of dried apricots.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness & acidity.  Hints of bitterness & tannins.  No sourness & funk.  Notes of apricot, peach, and lemon, and a hint of herbal & floral.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Yum!  I really enjoyed how flavorful and juicy this cider was without being sweet (and it tasted even sweeter than the listed sugar content).  It is often difficult to find a drier but flavorful cider.

Most Similar to:  I’ve also tried apricot ciders from Anthem, Atlas, Carlton, Locust, Stem, Summit, and Tieton.  The most similar was from Summit (as it was also a semi-dry, but flavorful), followed by those from Atlas & Locust, (although both of those were sweeter).

Closing Notes:  2 Towns remains a favorite PNW cidery for a reason.

Have you tried 2 Towns Cot in the Act?  What did you think?

2 Towns Traditions La Mûre

Review of 2 Towns’ newest Traditions line cider, La Mûre, a sour Marion blackberry cider aged in Pinot Noir red wine barrels for over a year.  It is inspired by Belgian-style sour lambic beer.  I tried this previously when it was a cellar series release (see here).  I’ve also tried most of their cider line-up; see my past reviews here.

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

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Cider:  La Mûre
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles
Style:  American craft sour Belgian lambic beer inspired cider with Marion blackberries, aged in Pinot Noir barrels

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Availability:  In general 2 Towns ciders are available in AK, CA, HI, ID, IL (Chicago), MN, NV, OR, and WA, although this is a more limited release.

Cider Description:  Inspired by the historic lambic beers of Belgium, La Mûre embodies the Flemish styles of old.  Northwest apples and Oregon grown Marion blackberries are fermented wild with Lactobacillus.  Aged in Willamette Valley pinot noir barrels for one year, this unique cider is then removed from these dusty casks and bottle conditioned, revealing complex aromatics and a lactic tang that only time can unfold.

La Mûre won silver medals this year at two cider competitions – GLINTCAP and the Portland International Cider Cup.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a (but their other 375ml Traditions releases run around $9)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  It showed up.

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First Impression:  Bright purple-red hue.  Low carbonation (more than the last batch).  Smells of blackberries, red wine, oak, and sourness.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low to moderate sourness.  However, the sourness is more at the front of the palate than a typical sour cider where the sourness hits further back.  Hints of funk and bitterness.  Tannic sour oaky blackberry flavor.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate red wine influence, oak influence, complexity, and flavor intensity.  No apple flavor.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I’m not a sour cider fan, so no surprise, I wasn’t a big fan of this cider.  And thats ok…not everyone likes every cider.  With my last tasting of this I had three cider friends over (as well as my husband), and I discovered that this cider was a big hit with lovers of dry & sour ciders.  My tolerance to sour has increased in the last year though, and I found this cider much more palatable; therefore it is possible I may still acquire the taste for sours.

Most Similar to:  Finnriver Barrel Berry Sour from Port Townsend WA (although less sour) and WildCraft berry ciders from Eugene OR (all their ciders have a slight sourness although most aren’t advertised as sours).

Closing Notes:   If you love dry sour & farmhouse-style cider, Belgian-style lambic beer, etc, this cider will probably be to your liking.  I don’t think this cider will have a mass appeal, but I think it will be appreciated by fans of this style

Have you tried any sour ciders?  What did you think?

2 Towns Hop and Stalk

Review of 2 Towns’ Imperial Hop and Stalk, a seasonal release with Citra hops and rhubarb.  I sampled this last year (see here), and I’ve tried most of their line-up (see here).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  Hop and Stalk
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  8.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles and kegs
Style:  American Imperial (high ABV) craft cider made from dessert apples, with Citra hops and rhubarb

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Availability:  Seasonably (May-Aug) in AK, CA, HI, ID, IL (Chicago), MN, NV, OR, and WA.

Cider Description:  Fresh and citrusy, Hop & Stalk packs a Northwest punch.  Fresh-pressed apples and rhubarb are dry-hopped with Citra hops, creating a cider erupting with fresh aromatics and a tart, biting backbone.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a (runs $7.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Hazy lemonade medium straw yellow.  Low carbonation.  Smells very aromatic, primarily of citrus, with some hops and strawberry-rhubarb.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of citrus (lemon, lime, and orange), hops, floral, rhubarb, and strawberry.  Long finish with some baked apple.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.  Moderate to strong hoppiness.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it, but I liked last year’s batch better, as it seemed a tad more balanced (more fruity / less hoppy).

Most Similar to:  Hopped ciders with lots of citrus notes and some fruitiness.  Portland Cider Hop’Rageous also uses Citra hops, so you get more citrus & floral than bitter hops.  Tod Creek Mala-Hop also had a lot of citrus notes, but used Chinook, Sterling and Centennial, not Citra hops.  This is the most citrusy hopped cider I’ve tried though, and the only one with another fruit addition.

Closing Notes:  Another winner from 2 Towns!

Have you tried 2 Towns Hop and Stalk?  What did you think?

2 Towns Prickle Me Pink ^2

Review of 2 Towns Prickly Me Pink ^2 , a new iteration of the previous limited release (which I reviewed here in 2015), with prickly pear cactus fruit, and this time, watermelon.  I’ve also previously tried most of their line-up (see here).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  Prickle Me Pink ^2
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  5.7%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with prickly pear cactus fruit and watermelon

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Availability:  Seasonably (May-Aug) in AK, CA, HI, ID, IL (Chicago), MN, NV, OR, and WA.

Cider Description:  Exuberant & quenching, Prickle Me Pink ^2 is pink and multiplied by pink.  Glowing with a naturally derived color, this taste bud oasis is crafted with Northwest apples, prickly pear cactus fruit, and now watermelon.

Dave Takush, the head cider maker said, “If you’re wondering what to pair it with, we’d suggest a watergun fight set to the tunes of Wham..”

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price: n/a (runs $7.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I first tried this at Cider Summit Seattle 2015.

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First Impression:  Bright pink hue.  Nearly still.  Smells moderate fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Mild tartness.  Mild to moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness and funk.  Notes of cactus fruit, watermelon, strawberry, and kiwi.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  No apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Quick finish.

My Opinion:  Yum!  I really enjoyed this, especially how fruity and flavorful it was for the dryness.  It was too easy to drink.  I had imaged this higher carbonated, but at the same time, I don’t think it would work as well as I think it would.

Most Similar to:  Nothing much.  I’ve not had any other ciders with cactus fruit except 2 Towns’ first release of this cider.  I’ve had a handful of other ciders with watermelon though; namely, Pear UP’s Watermelon Perry.

Closing Notes:  I’m surprised they went so dry with this; however, it worked.  I think this was even tastier than the last release.  The watermelon was a great addition, and also helped so the cider wasn’t quite so fluorescent pink (and likely reduced the ingredient cost too).

Have you tried 2 Towns Prickle Me Pink?  What did you think?